Prepartum/Postpartum Depression

On the outside, everything seemed fine. I had a happy marriage, healthy three-year-old daughter and new baby baking. My husband had a great job, and I was able to fulfill my dream of being a stay-at-home mom. Yes, it appeared to be all bliss.

Inside, I was dying. I was stuck in a real hell. I cried all the time. I lived in a fog. For the first and only time in my life, I didn’t even want to live.

Everyone told me I should be glowing, happy, excited. But, I couldn’t think logically. I felt like an outcast that no one understood. This wasn’t a few bad days, normal hormones or lack of energy. I had been pregnant before, this was completely different. It was like I was watching myself slowly disappear, but I didn’t have the strength to fight. I didn’t care. I was hopeless.

I had been reluctant to visit my doctor because I felt ashamed and weak. Why can’t I just be happy? My husband insisted that I make an appointment. It was then I heard the diagnosis, “You have severe prepartum depression.”

What? I love my life, how could I be depressed? I was immediately prescribed medication and referred to a counselor.

Seeking medical treatment was only the first step to my recovery. I coupled it with the support from my counselors, family and friends. I opened up about what I was really feeling inside. Through the whole process, I tried to keep the faith. I prayed, “Lord, I can’t do this. It’s just you and me. Jesus, please be my strength.” I had this verse posted all over my house:

“Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.” Isaiah 41:10

There was not an overnight fix, I learned that beating depression is a process. It took months to finally feel like me again. I remember my mentor saying, “You will start seeing glimpses of yourself.” She was right. I would think a happy thought and realize that actually felt like me. Eventually, my normal, joyful thoughts returned and the negative, overwhelming fog evaporated entirely. Now, five years later, I feel so blessed that God carried me through and made me a stronger person.

I had never struggled with depression. Before this experience, I thought it was someone choosing not to be happy. Oh, I was so wrong and stupid! With my prepartum depression, there was no choice in having it, only in how I was going to deal with it.

My depression got worse because I made a terrible mistake … I didn’t get help right away. It takes incredible strength and courage to ask for help. Visit your doctor immediately. Seek support. Keep the faith. Open up. Fight for yourself. Never, ever give up!